MILWAUKEE -- Now that school is ending kids have a lot more free time -- but what activities are safe for them to do this summer? Rebecca Michelsen of Penfield Children's Center joins FOX6 WakeUp with some tips on what to do and what to avoid.
1. Summer camp
• If you are planning on sending your kids back to camp for the summer, make sure there are safety protocols in place, including screening of staff working at the camp. Some of these could include limiting the number of children that will be accepted to or attending the camp, increased outdoor time, kids bringing their own lunches from home, handwashing stations, adults and supervisors wearing masks, established safe traffic patterns within buildings, and routine cleaning of outdoor and indoor equipment. Campers and parents should be screened each day before drop off. Parents should also make it a point to drive their own kids to camp, instead of carpooling with other families, or having their child take a bus to camp.
• While school is out, children can play together as long as their families are practicing safety precautions. Children should remain 6 feet apart from anyone that is not in their own household.
• It is recommended by the CDC to stay away from playgrounds at this time because it can be challenging to keep the surfaces clean and disinfected. The virus could also spread easily when young children touch contaminated equipment and then touch their hands to their eyes, nose or mouth. Areas that are not managed and regularly disinfected should be avoided. Instead, opt for a hiking trail or a park close to home to get some fresh air and stay active.
4. Shopping in Stores
• Officials are asking people to only go out when absolutely needed so they don't get sick. Keep children home if possible but if not, try to go to stores during off hours when they might not be as crowded, wipe down the shopping cart with sanitizer, and wash your hands before and after going out, or getting back into the car. It is recommended by the CDC that children over the age of 2 should wear a child-sized face mask in social settings.
5. Swimming Pools
• Public pools are not a safe option for recreation this summer. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through water, however, it is best to avoid recreation in public swimming pools, as it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing and cleanliness in a pool environment. Most pools also have playgrounds on the property that are not being managed or disinfected, which should also be avoided.
6. Youth Sports
• Some youth sports leagues may resume activity again this summer. The more a child interacts with a coach or other players, the closer the physical interaction, and the more sharing of equipment between children that is involved, the higher risk of COVID-19 spread. The lowest risk youth sports setting is performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with family members. Team based practice might be open, but organizations are expected to maintain social distancing and not intermingle with other teams from the same area. Any kind of sport that causes children to have physical contact with another child should not be considered safe.
7. Vacation Homes
• Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. However, if you are thinking about traveling to a vacation home, clean your hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while traveling, wear a face mask in public, and practice social distancing. If you are traveling by car, make sure to disinfect before and after stops for gas, foods and bathroom breaks. If the vacation property was occupied by anyone 72 hours prior to your arrival, the vacation property may be unsafe. Make sure to wait 72 hours after the occupants leave and disinfect the property thoroughly.
8. Staying Safe
• In order to make sure your family stays safe while enjoying the summer weather, make sure to clean and disinfect regularly, especially after returning from public places such as summer camp, errands, or public parks. Follow the guidelines on the CDC`s website for cleaning and disinfecting your home.
• You can also protect your family by keeping certain items in your vehicles. These could include:
1. Water bottles for drinking to avoid using public drinking fountains.
2. Disinfecting wipes for surfaces such as carts, baskets, door handles, and gas stations. Make sure to pay attention to the amount of time each product needs to kill viruses.
3. Hand sanitizer containing at least 70% alcohol. Hand sanitizers that claim to be natural are not as effective.
4. Mask for use in areas where you cannot practice social distancing and/or where they are mandated.
5. Items to keep your children occupied as time spent in the car in drive-throughs and on errand trips might be excessively longer than usual.